Walking Through History: King John's Ruin - Peak District

Walking Through History: King John's Ruin - Peak District

Series 4

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Review

The Magna Carta formed the core of one of the finest jokes in British comedy history, when an over-emoting Tony Hancock pleaded in Twelve Angry Men: “Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in vain?”

Of course, it gave us so much more than a good gag; it gave us rights and freedoms. Next year marks the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta by King John, so Tony Robinson heads across Sherwood Forest and the Peak District to find out more about the monarch who reigned for 17 years. It was a troubled time and John lurched from crisis to crisis.

As for Robinson, he has a personal connection of sorts in that he played the Sheriff of Nottingham in – and wrote – the fondly remembered Maid Marian and Her Merry Men kids’ TV series.

Summary

As the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta in June 1215 approaches, Tony Robinson sets out to discover the real King John. His walk across the medieval monarch's stamping grounds of Sherwood Forest and the Peak District reveals a hapless man stumbling from crisis to crisis who, in the end, had no choice but to sign away some of his power. In the midst of what are now cultivated fields, Tony finds the scant remains of Laxton Castle, once the control centre where strict `forest law' was administered and where taxes and fines flooded into the royal coffers. Later, in Sherwood, he explores how the myth of Robin Hood has helped to skew the public's image of King John.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Tony Robinson
Director Peter Gauvain
Executive Producer Philip Clarke
Producer Peter Gauvain
Series Producer Owen Rodd
Education